Indian Ocean Ccot

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Alex Larson

Change and Continuity of Commerce in the Indian Ocean Region from 650 CE to 1750 CE. The Indian Ocean has always been a powerful trading region, between East Africa and China, that has caused religion, crops, languages, and people to spread. Through the rise and fall of powerful land and sea empires, trade routes shifted and control switched hands numerous times over history. The goods have remained fairly constant, compared to the traders and the powers behind them that changed from 650 C.E. to 1750 C.E. Spices, textiles, manufactured goods, and raw goods were staples on the many of the routes that led from the coast of Zimbabwe all the way to the ports of China. Early traders from Polynesia even traveled to Madagascar. With the rise of Islam and of the Mongol Empire, overseas trade slowed slightly because of the importance of the Silk Road as the main connection between China and Europe. However, as the Mongols declined, the Indian Ocean trade became more important to the empires or kingdoms of China and the regional powers of India. The Chinese Ming Dynasty engaged heavily in foreign trade and they displayed their wealth with giant treasure ships and junks that sailed the day from China through the port of Malacca to the east coast of India. The ships carried silk and porcelain, goods that were in high demand in Europe and Arabia. The ships also picked up spices and hardwoods from Southeast Asian islands. In India, the majority of these goods were sent on dhows to the Arabian Peninsula, stopping at major important ports like Aden, and then continuing on to East Africa and the Swahili Coast states of Mogadishu, Kilwa, and Sofala. The ships sailed according to the monsoons, they then returned loaded with gold and ivory from Africa, to China where the cycle would restart. Eventually states like Gujurat and Calicut grew in importance in manufacturing and the textile production of cotton. The powers around the Indian Ocean remained in...
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